What Caused Death and Injury During (and After) Ancient Battles?

3447 WordsApr 28, 201214 Pages
What caused injury and death during (and after) ancient battles? Soldiering has never been an easy job. In any period of history the risks are rarely any different, death and injury stalk every battlefield the world over. Egyptian and Greek warfare became sophisticated theatres of mortality and injury in their day, the means by which the enemy could be dispatched were numerous and effective. Rivalling this however, was nature; infection and disease were as big a risk to the soldier as any blade. Injury is also present in the mind of the warrior, the stress of battle, the grief, the inner turmoil caused by murder and the horrors one could witness remained long in the memory of every veteran and for some this manifested itself in mental…show more content…
This relief displays the impact arrows had in battle alongside other weapons; Winlock comments that, ‘the dead and wounded bristling with arrows in the Deshasheh reliefs give a realistic picture of the battlefields’. Along with sources like that of The Tomb of Amenemhet and its depiction of ranged weapons we can confidently assert that arrows and other ranged weapons played a large role in causing the casualties of Egyptian warfare, the physical evidence unsupportive due to flesh decay and wood’s biodegradability. In all, the pitched battle was quite clearly a dangerous place but if we are to take the Deir el Bahri tomb as an example there appears to be only 60 or so dead out of a force of perhaps hundreds, a reasonably low percentage, it would be reasonable to assume that death and injury trailed the surviving soldier home. Many of the injuries sustained during a battle would not be immediately lethal, Egyptian soldiers could carry war wounds to their death. Short term post battle deaths would occur from damage like: internal bleeding, blood loss, infection and injuries which would prevent the soldier from functions like eating and drinking. Many more would survive battles with injuries that whilst were not lethal in the short term would leave the sufferer with severe pain and/or disability. We know that many could return from battle with brain damage, the Edwin
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